Tulshibaug Ram Mandir

 

tulshibag-ram-mandir-kalas

Tulshibaug, the name says it all. This place is chaotic and dusty yet it is charming and quaint with its own beauty. This place seems to have answers for all your needs.

hustle-bustle
Tulshibaug is always overflowing with people.Tulshibaug is located centrally to Pune city. Every visitor coming to Pune visits this place to buy fashion clothes, footwear, purses and other household items.

brass-kitchen-set

brass-Kids’ kitchen-set

kitchen_needs

Kitchen-Utensils

show_pieces_for_sale

Items-for-sale

But with the chaos of the outside place they hardly come to know of Tulshibaug Ram Mandir, this quieter place.There are however, regular visitors to this place, mostly residents of Pune from many years.

regular_visitors

Daily-Visitors

This temple is a historical temple constructed in the Peshwa Era. It could be compared to a soul of a body. Located in over crowded Tulshibaug it is like like finding peace of mind in the hustle and bustle of the city crowds. The temple premises are big. There is Nagarkhana at the north entrance gate. It is typically a music gallery situated at the entrance of the palace. There is Hanuman temple and opposite to that there are beautifully carved marble idols of Shreeram,Sita and Laxman inside the temple sanctum sanctorum. This temple has wooden structure from inside. It has huge towering peak (Shikhar) It is approximately 140 metres in height and has sculptures of deities.

tulshibag-ram-mandir-kalas

Mandir-Kalas

There are many temples in this premises such as a Ganesh temple, Shankar or shiva temple, dattamandir, Vitthal Rakhumai etc.

Dashawatar.JPG

Dashawatar

There are scenes from Ramanyana are painted on the walls and few Dashawatar scenes are also there.

ramayana_scenes

Scenes-from-Ramayana

History of the place: This place initially belonged to Sardar Khasgiwale. He had a big garden of Tulsi (the holy basil plant). Naro Appaji Khire bought it from Sardar Khasgiwale and he constructed a big Ram temple here. This temple became so famous that his earlier name khire was replaced by Tulshibagwale. This temple construction took place between 1761 to 1795.When Nanasaheb Peshwe was ruling the construction was started but completed much later. Even today at the Nagarkhana they play Sanai Chaughda on every Saturday afternoon around 3 as a tribute to Bajirao Peshwe(1st)

Nagarkhana_Music Gallery

Nagarkhana

When we visited this temple recently (actually after 4, 5 years) we saw beautiful marble flooring and even some restoration done on the columns as well. All this work has maintained the beauty of the place and in fact added to it I would say. There is also a big board posted in front of the temple which gives a historical account of this place.

ram-mandir

This Ram Mandir also works as a breather in between your shopping sessions of Tulshibaug. You can take darshan, relax here for a while and get moving. But please don’t restrict it to just one experience, but let the visit become a habit.

At this  Ram temple, a big celebration takes place during Ram navmi festival which occurs in the first month as per Hindu calendar (Chaitra Shuddha Navmi). People gather here in huge numbers and the atmosphere is full of devotion and sacred chants.

During our recent visit we got an opportunity to attend Aarti of Tulshibaug ganapati. The idol is huge and beautiful. Just by the sight of it, all our troubles and problems seem to fade away. We really experienced “Darshan matre man kamana purti”

Tulshibaug-Ganapati

Tulshibaug-Ganapati

Quick notes:

Do visit Shrikrushna Bhuwan which is right there in Tulshibaug and taste the best misal of Pune (not too spicy just the perfect taste)

Every Saturday 3 pm in the afternoon, experience a recital of Sanai and Chaughada being played by local artists.

Best way to reach this place is to catch an autoriksha from your place in Pune and they will drop you just outside Tulshibaug.( It is too tough to get a parking space)

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Kshetra Mahuli (Part 2)

Kashi Vishweshwar1

In the excitement of sharing vast information sometimes you get confused and struggle to find a take off point. Same was the case with Mahuli. There is so much to reveal and express. But this time that chaos has brought the clarity and harmony. Let us continue the amazing kaleidoscope of temples, greenery, Krishna river, farms, people and heritage in Kshetra Mahuli Part 2.

Radha Shankar Temple:

On the river banks of Kshetra Mahuli, RadhaShankar temple is situated. This temple was built in 1762 AD by Radhabai Taisaheb in the memory of her husband Shankararao Pantasachiv. Surprisingly Nandi idol is on the same square of the temple structure here, usually it is built separately just outside the Shiva Temple. On the left hand side of the door Ganesh Murti is there. Ganesh idol is also carved on the main entrance of all these temples underlining the fact that this deity had the immense importance in the Peshwa era and was most worshipped.

RadhaShankar Temple

There is also a Hanuman idol coloured in saffron colour. Some different stone carvings could be seen in this temple.

RadhaShankar inside

Statue at RadhaShankar

The columns in this temple have lotus design and remind us of the wooden carvings of palaces or wadas. In the inner sanctum Shivling is there. Two towers  of light are there(Deepamala)

 

RadhaShankar Mandir

RadhaShankar Mandir

 

Very near to this place is self manifested Ganesh.

Self manifested Ganesh

Self manifested Ganesh

 

Badrinarayan Temple:

Behind the Datta Temple there is Badrinarayan Mandir built in 1905 AD  by Radhabai Joshi/ Moropant Joshi. Once a very big and beautiful temple, it is in ruins now.

1

Badrinarayan temple

History would be incomplete without ruins, they tell us a story of the past. But isn’t it important to preserve and look after these forgotten places?

Badrinarayan temple

Badrinarayan temple

 

Rameshwar temple:

Built by Parshuram Anagal in the 17th century Rameshwar temple is an elegant stone temple. Impact of Mughal architecture can be easily noticed by looking at the domes of this temple. This temple has a vast courtyard as compared to other two temples of Kshetra Mahuli. On entering the temple premises one shivling is seen. The Nandi idol here is bigger and carved with heavy bells design. Inside the sanctum sanctorum the main Shivling is there.

Rameshwar Temple

Mahuli is a pilgrimage centre, hence the name Kshetra Mahuli. It is also known as Dakshin Kashi. On one bank of the river, Kashi Vishweshwar temple is situated and on the other bank, Rameshwar temple. On visiting both the temples one would get the punya of visiting Tirthakshetra (Pilgrimage centre)

 

Kashi Vishweshwar temple:

Kashi Vishweshwar temple is an amazing example of temple architecture. It is a magnificent piece of art.

Kashi vishweshwar

The Nandi idol has been recently painted in white and golden colour and the square on which it is placed is also worth watching. Various designs are used to decorate this square and the design is not even repeated once.

 

Nandi at Kashi Vishweshwar

Nandi at Kashi Vishweshwar

Inside the temple numerous columns are beautifully decorated with diverse designs of parrots, peacocks and swans.

Designs on columns

Designs on columns

Outside the temple huge deepmala (tower like structure where oil lamps could be kept) is there which is approximately 45 to 50 feet in height.

Tower of Light

Tower of Light (Deepmala)

Krishnabai Utsav (Krishna River celebration):

Krishna river (4th biggest  river in India after Ganga, Brahmhaputra and Godavari) originates in Maharashtra near Mahabaleshwar. With its most fertile soil no wonder it is regarded as Lokamata (Mother) by people. Krishnabai Utsav is celebrated in different places in Wai, Mahabaleshwar , Limb, Kshetra Mahuli, Sangam Mahuli, Karad, Amanapur, Narsinhwadi even till Karnataka. This celebration starts from Vaishakh shudh Ekadashi and ends on Vaishakh Pournima as per the Hindu calendar which usually falls in the month of May. 5 days of celebration are filled with Bhajan, Kirtan, Katha Kathan etc. During this celebration various competitions take place. Various camps are organised such as Blood donation, free medical check up for needy people, uniforms and books distribution to the poor and deserving students.

This type of festivity takes place almost in each village and town where ever Krishna river is present. People from all age groups and all social strata participate in this. The jubilation and glee of the place is contagious. Large number of people have now migrated to bigger cities like to Mumbai and Pune , but they flock to Kshetra Mahuli  during Krishnabai Utsav. This shows the immense faith and love for their native place.

 

Lokmata Krishnabai

Lokmata Krishnabai

There is a connection of this celebration with Shivaji era. There was a priest called Shendye Shastri  in Wai. He had pleaded to the Krishna river to protect Shivaji Maharaj from the mighty and evil Afzalkhan. Afzalkhan had started his journey towards Shivaji Maharaj’s capital and was destroying the pilgrimage centres on the way. He had a huge army with him and anticipating this danger Shivaji Maharaj shifted his headquarters  to Pratapgad. As we know Shivaji Maharaj with his guerrilla war fare techniques killed Afzalkhan and destroyed his huge army.

This Shendye Shastri took a vow to Krishna river saying that if you save our king from this difficult phase we will celebrate your festival every year on all the banks where ever you appear. His wish was fulfilled and from that time this celebration takes place every year without any break.

Krishnadham:

Near Kshetra Mahuli there is a place called Krishnadham. This is an Ashram of Yogi Krishnanad maharaj. This place is a picture perfect beauty. The winding steps here lead you to a tranquil and soothing place very near to the river. This will make you forget about your worries and will take you in a trance.You will feel like never leaving this place.  I wish to relish every moment spent here.

Krishnadham

Krishnadham

Kshetra Mahuli would impress the travelers of various interests. It has been a shooting location for some superhit movies like Sant Tukaram, Gunj Uthi Shahanai etc.

Many persons of national presence and historical importance belong to this place. To name a few Shrirang Jadhav, an Olympic wrestler who participated in Helsinki Olympics, Kirtankar of national fame Govind Aphale and Charudatta Aphale who delighted the entire nation by their auspicious and divine compositions and above all Nyaymurti Ramshastri Prabhune who was famous for his impartial and fair justice in the court of Madhavrao Peshwe.

Ramshastri Prabhune  even told Madhavrao Peshwe that now he has accepted the Kshatriya dharma so his duty should be to govern and protect his subjects and he should not spend so much time in religious processes/ rituals. Because of his fearless and outspoken nature he did not hesitate to tell Raghoba dada Peshwe (Raghunath Peshwe) to take the death penalty (dehant Prayachitta) for his involvement in the murder of Narayanrao Peshwe. Such a courageous person who would not spare even the supreme authority is difficult to find these days.

Ramashastri Prabhune

Ramashastri Prabhune

Mahuli got its reputation in Peshwa era primarily because of Ramshashtri Prabhune.

This was a short tale of this sacred town of Kshetra Mahuli. It is one such landmark which has historical tales, architectural splendor and jubilant people. Do take out time and visit this place.

Quick Facts:

Location: 105 kms from Pune

Don’t forget to  take kandi pedha of Satara (Yogesh Sweets Modi Pedhewale and Ladkar are well known) and famous brinjals of Krishna banks on your way back.

References: Document Nyayadewata published in 1979 and Lokmata document published in 2005 and discussions with noteworthy mahulikars

 

Kshetra Mahuli (Part 1)

Krishna river

Some places are seen with heart and not just with eyes. Kshetra Mahuli is such a place very close to my heart. This is the native place of my grandmother and I always get the warmth of meeting her when I am there.

On the Main Satara highway, about 100kms from Pune you will reach a square.If you take a right turn you go to Satara city, a left turn here takes you to Mahuli. Kshetra Mahuli is located about 5 kms from the main highway.

Mahuli fields

Mahuli’s  references are found from the 15th century. In the court of Ramraje (Dev Rai) of Vijaynagar (Anegundi/Anegondi), there was a learned scholar. His name was Koya Prabhu. He used to tell primeval and legendary stories (Puran) to Ramraje. Once he narrated about the charm and grace of the river Krishna. He mentioned about its dense forests and the peaceful riverbanks.He described the calmness and blend of natural beauty.

Placid waters of Krishna river

Mahuli fields1

This created a strong desire in Ramraje to visit this place. When he visited it, he was simply mesmerized by the beauty of this place. Highly impressed with the work of Koya Prabhu,  Ramraje awarded this place to him. As per the procedure at that time Ramraje offered him a Copperplate (Tamrapat) and allocated all the related rights to him (Ashtadhikar). Now the descendants of Koya Prabhu are the people known as Prabhune, from Mahuli.

Pictureaque beauty at Mahuli fields

Later on, after the death of Aurangzeb, Chatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj’s son Shahu Maharaj was released. Shahu Maharaj made Satara his capital and Satara became the centre of main decisions and interactions. Many temples were built in the Peshwa era at that time on the banks of the river Krishna.

Various temples nearby Satara

Mahuli is situated on the confluence of Krishna and Venna river. On one bank of the river Kshetra Mahuli is located and on the other bank Sangam Mahuli.

Inside view of Dattamandir

In Kshetra Mahuli my ancestors built a Datta Mandir (Datta Temple) around 150 years ago. This Mandir is situated on the banks of Krishna river. It is a nice, simple temple with a black stone idol. As heard from my grandmother her ancestors found this idol in the Krishna river and installed it on the river banks by building a small temple.

Datta Idol1

Every year on Dattajayanti a two day celebration(utsav) takes place. There is Bhajan, Kirtan and the whole ambiance is pure and blessed.

Kirtan on the occassion of Datta Jayanti

The ancestral house at Kshetra Mahuli is now rebuilt and converted into Sanskrutik Bhawan(Cultural Hall) where important events/ ceremonies of the village take place.

ancestral house

Ancestral house

Sanskrutik Bhawan

Old house now transformed into Sanskrutik Bhawan(Cultural Hall)

On one side of the Datta Mandir there is Bilweshwar Temple.

Bilweshwar Mandir

Bilweshwar Temple

Bilveshwar Nandi 1

The story of Bilweshwar temple goes like this. There was a priest called Bilwamangal who used to stay in Kshetra Mahuli. He used to cross the river daily to visit Kashi Vishweshwar temple on the opposite banks (Sangam Mahuli) and offer Bilva patra or bel leaves. These are special type of leaves signifying the three gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh). These are offered to lord Shiva. Once due to a flood, it was not possible for Bilwamangal to cross the river and he was very much upset that he couldn’t visit the temple and offer his prayers. In a sad mood he kept his basket of flowers and bel leaves on the soil and he found a Shivling there. He built a temple there which is now known as Bilweshwar.

Bilweshwar Mandir Nandi
This is a stone temple built in the Peshwa era. Artistically carved nandi idol is present at the entrance of this temple. In the sanctum there is a big tortoise carved on the floor.In the sanctum sanctorum Shivling is there. It is quite dark inside the temple. There is no window or any space for light to come inside this temple. Don’t you think it is done intentionally so that one can see the power of his/ her inner light (soul). This Shivling is regularly worshipped and the natives have also cleaned and painted the temple recently.

On the other hand of the Datta Mandir one can find the remains of Bundel wada. It is more popularly known as Mastani Buruj. Shrimant Bajirao Peshwa (I) (Thorale Bajirao Peshwe) was not allowed to meet Mastani. Shahu Maharaj had kept Mastani in this Bundelwada. He had issued strict instructions that no one will help Shrimant Bajirao Peshwe to meet Mastani. Bajirao Peshwe gave his diamond ring to a boatman and asked him to take him to the other bank of the river to meet Mastani. The remains of this structure still speak a lot about this part of history.

Mastani Buruj

Mastani Buruj

I got an interesting reference of Sambhaji Maharaj while reading the book Sambhaji (by Mr.Vishwas Patil) about this place. It was at this place that Sambhaji Maharaj crossed the river and joined with the Mughals on the other side.

This place has spacious river banks. During the day time one can see ladies washing clothes, villagers cleaning and washing their cattle and now a days they bring their cars and motorbikes for washing 🙂

Sapcious banks of Krishna River

I can spend hours sitting on the banks here. Especially the dusk is awesome. The placid water simply spells peace.

Krishna river banks

I wanted to write about this place as a tribute to my grandmother but when I started collecting more information about this place I was amazed to see the remarkable facts getting unfolded. I got an opportunity to talk to Mr. Bhagwan Aphale, an eminent teacher in Satara. As our discussion progressed, I realised that it had a great connection with history. These stories are no where on Google but on the tip of the natives tongues.

Many esteemed and renowned personalities are also associated with Kshetra Mahuli. Article on Kshetra Mahuli would be incomplete without Nyayamurti Ramshastri Prabhune (a famous judge ,who was well known for his justful and fair decisions in the court of Shrimant Madhavrao Peshwe) There are many interesting stories about other temples like Rameshwar temple, Radha Shankar temple, self-manifested Ganapati (Ganesh) on the banks of Krishna river, Kashi Vishweshwar at Sangam Mahuli, Krishnabai Utsav and many more. I will be covering all these stories in the next post.It will take you on a journey back in time. Do check next part of this series coming next week.

Chatushrungi Temple

Chatushrungi Temple from outside

Chatushrungi Mandir is a picturesque temple situated on Senapati Bapat Road (S.B.Road), Pune. Unlike other temples in Pune this one has a vast area. It is located on a hilltop at about 90ft. height.Once you enter the temple premises you will see few shops selling Prasad, coconuts and flowers. Recently this temple has been renovated and decorated  so you would get to see a few nice statues on the way to the top.

Renovation and decoration at the temple

Renovation and Decoration of the premises

Statues inside the premises

Renovation and Decoration of the premises

This temple has 160 steps. Children would enjoy climbing the steps and elders too would find it easy as  they are not too steep.

160 steps to the temple

Steps to the temple

At about 50,60 steps there is Ganesh Temple. Before starting any sort of work we always take the blessings of Lord Ganesh. As per Hindu tradition  lord Ganesh is worshipped before any other deity.  This temple has red columns and the inner walls are painted with gracious designs of colourful leaves and flowers. In this temple Ashtavinayak idols (8 Sacred places of lord Ganesh)  are engraved on the walls in saffron colour.

After taking blessings of Ganapati one might proceed to the main temple. On the way to the main temple you will see different sitouts. The exquisite brick stone structures painted in pleasant pink red colour will make you stay there for some more time.

Nice Sitting place at Chatushrungi

Once you reach the temple you would see that the actual temple area is very small.  This Goddess is self-manifested (swayambhu). Money lender of Peshwas Mr.Durlabhshet was a great devotee of Saptashrungi devi. He found this idol at the hilltop and he started this temple. He had also started a Chatushrungi Rupee during those times. Currently the temple is looked after by Angal family.

Devi idol has been decorated with pearl nath(nose ornament), a crown and many necklaces. The temple is decorated with photos of different prominent goddesses.There is no permission to go inside the sanctum sanctorum so just outside it two idols have been kept ; one of brass and another of silver.You can offer haldi kumkum and flowers to these idols. During the Navratri festival this temple is extremely crowded and the long queues cross the spacious expanses of this temple and come out on the main Senapati Bapat road.

Renovation preserving nature

Renovation preserving nature

What makes this temple so special is that it is not just a divine and religious destination but it is a very clean place amidst the nature. The temple authorities plant trees here regularly and one can see various trees and birds in this area. We can get good view of Pune from top.

zigzag way leading through greenery

During one of our recent visits to this temple we got to see a kite plucking dry branches of small plants and taking it away to build a nest on a far away tree. It was an amazing thing to watch. We kept looking at it for several minutes.

champa tree

Temple view

This is a place where one can enjoy the song of nature and can inhale the freshness of air.
Visiting this temple daily could be a good exercise to get a healthy body and a peaceful mind.

Quick notes:

Location: Senapati Bapat Road(near Savitribai Phule Pune University), Pune

Timings: 6:30 AM to 8:00PM (On Tuesdays temple is open till 12 midnight)

Parking space : Available inside the premises

On your way back do eat at Durga snacks(located at the starting point of the temple) a wholesome plate of Upma and nice masala chai.

Bhuleshwar: Hidden Treasure

Light and shadow effect at Bhuleshwar

There is always something special about every visit, every trail, every moment and every experience. I visited Bhuleswar twice. First time it was with a group of trekkers and an expert historian and the next visit was with my family. Both the trips were magical and miraculous.

Location:

Bhuleshwar Temple is situated about 53 Kms from Pune and 10 Kms from Yawat. To visit this temple from Pune you need to catch the Pune Solapur Highway. Just before Yawat you will find Kamat hotel on the left hand side and Kanchan hotel on the right hand side if you are going from Pune. Take a right turn and follow the Malshiras road to reach Bhuleshwar temple. Be careful on the inner ghat road. On the way you would see Suhana Masala factory, Nishigandh and Custard Apple plantation, Dwarika Krishi sankalp etc. Take a right turn and you will reach an entrance arch saying Bhuleshwar Vana Udyan. This temple is situated on a hilltop. There are two very sharp turns before reaching the top. Be extremely careful.

On the way to Bhuleshwar

On the way to Bhuleshwar

Nature on the way

Nature on the way

History of this place:

Bhuleshwar temple was built in 1230 AD by Yadava rulers. It was deformed and destroyed by Mughal attackers. In 1629 Adilshahi Sardar Murar Jagdev destroyed and looted Pune completely and he literally deployed donkeys to plough the fields in Pune. He constructed a fort here which was known as DaulatMangal Gadh. He used it to keep a watch on Pune city from this fort. It is said that later Shivaji Maharaj and Peshwas did some restoration of this temple. One can still find some signs of earlier Muslim rule by looking at Eidgah (open air gathering place normally on the outskirts of the city).

Remains of Eidgah

Remains of Eidgah

Now Bhuleshwar temple comes under the Archaeological survey of India and is a protected monument.

Bhuleshwar Temple from outside

 

Once you reach the temple you won’t be able to guess from outside what the temple would be from inside. From outside it has an appearance like a mosque which reflects the social impact on the architecture of that era.

When you enter the temple premises from the first few steps the saga of magical carvings starts.

carvings at the entrance steps

Sculptures at the entrance steps

 

Normally Nandi idol is outside the Shiva temple but in this one you will find a big one inside the temple. It is huge and beautiful ornaments are carved on it.

Nandi idol

On the walls there are carvings from Ramayan, Mahabharat etc. The most prominent scenes like Draupadi Swayamwar, Mahabharat war, Shriram Bharat meeting, Kidnapping of Seeta by Ravan,Churning of the ocean etc.

Draupadi Swayamwar

Draupadi Swayamwar(Mahabharat)

 

Bheem fighting with elephants

Bheem fighting with elephants ( Mahabharat)

 

Bhishma on bed of arrows

Bhishma on bed of arrows , Pandavas sitting beside him

Ram and Bharat Meeting

Ram and Bharat Meeting (Ramayana)

 

Samudramanthan

Samudramanthan (Churning of the Ocean)

 

It also has Ganesh, Shankar and Vishnu in Female form.

 

Idols in female form

Idols of Ganesh, Shankar, Vishnu


Each pillar, each carving is unique. Even the borders of each carving are decorated with different designs. On pillars we saw different carvings of Bells, flowers and even inverted cobras (which was quite popular during 12 and 13th century)

 

Elephants on pillars

Elephants on the pillars

Ceiling carving at the entrance

Carvings

In the Pradakshina marg one would see a beautiful light and shadow effect. It gives an individuality to each and every sculpture.

Inside the temple

Bell, Cobra and flower design

Darpan Sundari

Darpan Sundari(Lady admiring herself in mirror)

There is a sculpture of group of artists playing various intruments like flute, Mridangam, Pakhwaj, Shehnai etc. One could understand that there was great recognition, appreciation and respect for art in different forms.

Musicians

Musicians

While we were appreciating the beauty of the sculptures it was causing immense pain to see deformed idols. What wonder the temple would have created if it was intact with all the carvings???

Deformed sculptures

Deformed sculptures

Once you enter the sanctum sanctorum the scene is completely different. All the materialistic emotions of life are displayed outside and once inside the temple there is not even a single carving denoting complete detachment and renunciation of the material world.

Shivling

 

There is also a story associated with this temple that if you offer a pack of Pedhas to this Shivling and keep that pack below the mask of Shiva at least one Pedhha disappears. It is said that many people have experienced this. We have not tried it so can’t comment anything about this.

This place is very much crowded during Mahashivratri and Shravani Somwar but on rest of the days very few people visit this temple. The care taker told us that they are getting different information from different sources. They are collecting it and planning to put a board outside for visitors to get some information.

If you climb down about 50 steps you will reach a water storage of ancient times. It is covered with rocks so water is stored there from many years and very less evaporation takes place. There is also a Shivling here. If you peep inside you will see different compartments of water. Those different compartments might have been used for different purposes like drinking, cleaning, washing clothes etc.

Water storage

It is a unique place where intricately carved sculptures will surely take your breath away. I would recommend that you make a complete one day trip to visit this place and study it in detail. Do take a powerful torch with you to admire the real grandeur of the carvings.

One would simply wonder at the marvelous piece of art the sculptors have created. They have infused life into the life less stones. It is a must visit for art lovers.

Nagkanya

Quick Notes:

Location: Near Yawat on Pune Solapur road about 53 Kms from Pune

Visiting hours : From 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Take care of the last two sharp turns and most important take a powerful torch with you to observe the sculptures in detail.

Do visit Kanchan hotel on your way back (On main highway). It is a beautiful place with innovative interior and earthen decor. Good place to have snacks.

Sarasbaug

 

Sarasbaug Devdeveshwar sansthan

In Pune every Punekar has a deep faith on either Sarasbaug Ganapati or Dagadusheth Halawai Ganapati. Every age group has a reason to visit this place. There are regular morning walkers, children, youngsters, women just everyone.

Sarasbaug is located on Bajirao Road very near to Swargate, one of the major bus stands of Pune. It is very close to Nehru Cricket stadium.

There is a parking area just opposite the temple. An overbridge connects the parking area with the garden. From this overbridge you can get a beautiful view of Parvati hills.

Parvati hills view

On entering the garden you need to climb down few steps. You will see a small artificial waterall . Nice spot for clicking photos.

sarasbaug waterfall

 

From here you may head straight to the temple. On the temple foot steps we saw an artist drawing Ganesha picture by using different names. There is also an artist who makes small Ganapati idols using Areca nuts(Supari). Don’t forget to take one with you on your way back as a souvenir or blessing what ever you may call it.

Sarasbaug Entrance footsteps

 

History of this place:

Shimant Nanasaheb Peshwe started Devdeveshwar Sansthan as per the orders of his mother Kashibai. In the year 1750 during his tenure he gave orders to construct an artificial lake along the Ambil stream near the Parvati foothills. While creating the lake 25000 square feet island was kept to construct temple and garden later.

Shrimant Nanasaheb Peshawe

Shrimant Nanasaheb Peshwe

 

This lake was used for boating. This lake was also used by Peshwas for secret discussions and meetings and the person who used to row the boat was usually Habashi (African negro) who was not able to understand a single word of Local Marathi
Language.

Sawai Madhavrao Peshwe and Mahadaji Shinde

Sawai Madhavrao Peshwe and Mahadaji Shinde

Later Shrimant Sawai Madhavrao Peshwe constructed a small temple on the island in the year 1784 and installed Siddhivinayak Ganesh idol there. He gave a very poetic name to it Sarasbaug which reminds us of beautiful Saras birds a type of crane, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit literature.

Sawai Madhavrao Peshwe Darbar 1790

Sawai Madhavrao Peshwe Darbar (1790)

In the year 1966 Pune Municipal Corporation developed a park in the place of lake. This temple is popularly known as Talyatla Ganapati ( Ganesha in the Lake)

The temple is beautiful and airy. The marble flooring and red columns make the temple look fascinating. Lanterns surrounding the temple enhance its beauty. Inside the temple Ganesh Stotra (Atharvshirsh and Falashruti) is inscribed.

Like the other temples you won’t normally find long queues here except on Major celebration days like Ganesh Jayanti and Sankashti Chaturthi. So normally darshan is very peaceful and no pushing and rushing required.

Sarasbaug temple interior

At 5:30 AM daily Panchamrut Pooja is done. Snan of Ganesha idol and decoration with beautiful flowers takes place. This decoration is done in front of the devotees and then Sansthan aarti takes place. After that around 6:40 AM devotees do aarti in chorus.Evening aarti takes place at 7:15 PM which is performed by a group of devotees.

They also arrange beautiful musical programs during various auspicious days.

Maghi Jayanti

Maghi Ganesh Jayanti Program

Just behind the temple there is a collection of various Ganesha idols on display. Earlier there used to be a nominal charge for visiting this display but now it is completely free.

It is a great visiting place. It has a huge garden. Children enjoy playing and running in the vast expanses of this garden. Children can enjoy themselves by buying colourful balls just for Rs.20 and playing them. The lake, though not very clean provides the right environment for aqua life. Please avoid throwing any food items in the water or don’t try to feed the fish.

Sarasbaug lake

 

Adjacent to Sarasbaug is Peshwe Park Urja Udyan which has a collection adventure games.

I remember going to Sarasbaug for celebrating full moon night (Kojagiri). It was a great experience.

Sarasbaug entrance steps

 

We always blame the government for not cleaning public places unfortunately we are the ones creating lot of garbage, throwing the wrappers of balls, plastic bottles, unfinished food items, papers etc on the lawn and making the place inelegant. It really feels bad. Every evening you get to see this garbage picture in Sarasbaug though they have kept dustbeens at every 5 metres distance.But one very good thing is when you visit the place next morning its completely clean. Thanks a lot to these cleaners and sweepers. Wish we could learn something from them.

Sarasbaug park

 

I remember visiting this temple every year during Diwali on Narakchaturdashi day. We used to get ready and wear new clothes and head straight to the temple early morning. The atmosphere used to be not just holy but it was a simple bliss.

Every visit to Sarasbaug leaves us calm yet energetic for rest of the routine.

Temple interior

Quick facts:

Open from 5.30 AM to 9:00PM

Location : Near Swargate bus depot and Nehru stadium.

Entry : Free

Parking : Limited parking space available opposite the temple.( Best way to visit will be to catch an auto from your place and visit it)

 

 

Ramdara

 

Picturesque view of Ramdara

Has it ever occurred to you that you plan to go somewhere and suddenly a plan changes and you get to visit a different place all together? This is how our Ramdara trip happened. My friend had mentioned to me about this place earlier but got a chance to visit this one very recently. It is about 26 km from Pune.

To Visit Ramdara you need to follow Pune Solapur road. You will pass through Hadapsar, Manjari , National Research Centre for grapes etc. On the way you will see HP fuel tanks on the left hand side while going from Pune. You need to cross one bridge and immediately after the bridge take a right turn into Loni village.

On the way to Ramdara

Loni Kalbhor Village

You need to pass through the village to reach there. On entering the village you are greeted by  Ambernath vegetable market. You need to go inside for about 5.7 Km. Inside the village surprisingly there is a cement road though narrow. There are different shops on both sides. Once you cross the village a dirt road (kaccha road) will start.

The journey from here till Ramdara was a nature lover’s delight. There were fields on either sides capturing our attention. We saw Cabbage, Cauliflower, Coriander, Fenugreek fields. Also Sugarcane and Banana plantation were seen.

Fields on the way

Fields on the way to Ramdara

There is a slight slope and 2 sharp turns. Then you will reach an entrance arch welcoming you into the temple and its surroundings. On entering we saw huge trees of various types and greenery was in the air.

Entrance Arch Ramdara

It is a great place to go with family and have your food in the shadow of a tree.You can relish  the beauty of  nature but you don’t have to worry about your safety and security. That’s a nice feeling.

Dashawatar

There is a small temple like structure where 10 incarnations of Vishnu (Dashawatar) i.e.Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasinha, Vaman, Parshuram, Ram, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki are sculpted. It has been protected by grill in order to keep it safe, secure and clean.

Inside the main temple there are idols of Shreeram, Sita and Lakshman and in the same inner sanctum there is  a Shivling. In the temple, 15th Chapter of Bhagvad Geeta is inscribed on the wall in which God Krishna explains the Purushottam Yog: The realization of the ultimate truth. Surrounding this temple beautiful and colourful sculptures are present of various saints and sages such as Surdas, Kabir,Guru Nanak, Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram, Tulasidas, Swami Vivekanand, Shankaracharya, Narad, Valmiki, Vyas etc.

Main temple Ramdara

Ramdara Temple Nandi

This temple is surrounded by water from three sides, Just outside the temple few coconut trees are seen.

Ramdara temple with surrounding water

There is a picturesque nature trail circling the temple. You would get to see various birds like Coppersmith Barbet, Orange headed ground thrush, Black winged kite, Oriental white eye, Plum headed Parakeete,. There are sit outs/ huts like structures made to sit and observe the beauty of nature. We also observed the nests of weaver birds. Water body attracts many types of cranes, swans and ducks as well. A Massive tamarind tree was seen covered fully with mouthwatering tamarinds.

Sitouts at Ramdara

weaver nests at Ramdara

Children have a gala time when they are amidst the nature and we also set them free. Kids and adults can enjoy themselves by climbing on trees.

Ramdara ducks

On many trees artificial softwood nests were attached. Those were used by birds for laying eggs. This place is a good collage of flora and fauna.

There are 2 small snacks outlet where you can get chips, water and other snacks like missal, Vada pav etc. But the real fun is to carry your homemade food in a picnic basket and enjoy eating it in the lap of nature.

Ramdara Temple interior

Quick Facts:
Open on: All days from 6 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry fee: Free
Location: Pune Solapur Road near Loni kalbhor
Best time to visit : Dawn and Dusk( as you would get to see many birds and ideal for taking photos as well.)